Wednesday, July 28Jesus - the WAY

Personal Evangelism

God’s Word teaches;

That Personal Evangelism is a God-given and God-ordained ministry for every believer. Jesus commanded and God requires every believer to be a compassionate and fruitful soulwinner, bringing others to Christ -Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; John 17:18; Acts 1:8; 1-4; Psalm 126:5,6; Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:3; Ezekiel 3:17-21.

Personal Evangelism is a God-given and God-ordained ministry for every believer. The Greek word “evangellion” (gospel) actually means Good News. It is good news from a loving God to a lost world that, through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, there is salvation (John 3:16,17). Personal evangelism is the person-to-person sharing of this good news of salvation with the aim of soul-winning – leading the sinner to repent and turn wholly to God through Jesus Christ, the Saviour (John 1:40-42; Acts 8:26-37). Jesus commanded and God requires every believer to be a compassionate and fruitful soul-winner (Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). Although mass evangelism is good and necessary, it will never take the place of personal evangelism. Illustrating the efficacy and superiority of personal evangelism, one godly man said, “If you had one hundred empty bottles before you, and threw a pail of water over them, some would get a little in them, but most would fall outside. If you wish to fill the bottles, the best way is to take each bottle separately and put a vessel full of water to each bottle’s mouth”. Another man of God said, “The world is never going to be brought to Christ whole-sale, but one by one. Men are not born collectively, they do not die collectively, they do not accept or reject Christ collectively.”

Personal evangelism is essential and mandatory because (a) Jesus commanded it (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19,20); (b) God is happy with its result (Luke 15:10); (c) Jesus did it (John 4:21-30; Matthew 4:19); (d) God the Father started it (Genesis 3:9); (e) Jesus prayed for the believers’ sanctification to make personal evangelism effective (John 17:17,18); (f) The Holy Spirit is given because of it (Acts 1:8); (g) Jesus Christ willed it (Matthew 4:19); (h) It is the heart desire of God (Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9); (i) Jesus’ earthly ministry illustrates it (Luke 19:10); (j) The early apostolic church practised it (Acts 8:30-37; Mark 16:20; Acts 8:4); (k) It is a mark of true wisdom (Proverbs 11:30); (l) Every genuine believer is equipped for it (John 1:37-45; 4:28,29); (m) It is the primary purpose for our salvation (John 15:16; 20:21); (n) There is great reward for those who carry it out (Daniel 12:3); (o) The harvest is plenteous but labourers are few (Matthew 9:36,37; John 4:35-38); (p) Life is short while eternity is endless (John 9:4; I Corinthians 7:29-31); (q) Souls are precious to God (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36,37; Psalm 49:6-9); (r) Hell is the end of all who die in sin (Mark 9:43-48; Psalm 9:17; Revelation 20:10-15); (s) Powers of darkness and cults are growing (2 Timothy 3:13; I Timothy 4:1); (t) Neglect hinders prayers and progress (Proverbs 21:13; 24:11,12); (u) It can be done without any expense. No loudspeakers and microphones are needed. No permission from the government, church or school is needed for the use of their compound (Acts 8:4). Finally, (v) There are tremendous possibilities in personal evangelism when pursued vigorously and scripturally. It produces abundant results through the law of spiritual multiplication. For instance, if a church of 100 dedicated and witnessing members will share the gospel with the unsaved, each member with effective follow-up will, within a period of four months, disciple a new convert till he becomes a soul winner. If each convert were in turn to win one person to Christ, for example, spending four months helping him to grow in faith, and then each of them in turn were to win another soul, there would be in one year four hundred Christians. If they spend four months with the new converts and if each of the four hundred believers wins another, they would be eight hundreds. Continuing in that schedule, the membership of the church would be over three million in five years. Precisely, if there were only one Christian in the world and he worked a year, and won a friend to Christ, and if these two continued each year to win another, and if every man they led into the kingdom of God continued to win another, then, in thirty years, every person in the world would be won for Christ.

To be involved in personal evangelism, personal experience of conversion is indispensable (2 Timothy 2:6,7, 19-21; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Also, the soul-winner must live a holy life (2 Timothy 2:4; Isaiah 52:11). Secondly, the true soul-winner must have a strong, unshakable conviction (John 9:4; I Corinthians 9:16; Acts 26:22-24; 21:8-14). He must, therefore, see himself as an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19,20) and must thus devote his time, talents, strength and money to the furtherance of the Gospel. The world will never see Christ again until He comes back in judgment, except as it sees Him in us. There should therefore be a strong conviction about God, the Bible, salvation, Christ’s death, resurrection and His second coming. Thirdly, the soul winner must accept that the responsibility of preaching the gospel is not optional but a debt (Romans 1:14; Proverbs 24:11,12; Ezekiel 33:6; I Corinthians 9:16). Furthermore, there is need for a deep, burning Christ-like compassion (Matthew 9:36; Romans 9:1-3; 10:1). This should be the basis for the sacrifices we make, effectual fervent prayers we offer, tears we shed and hardship that we endure for the souls of men to be won to the Lord.

Specifically, there must be quite a lot of secret praying because there is no substitute for expectant, secret waiting upon God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for wisdom, strength and power, and for courage, hope, faith and a glowing, burning and appropriate message from God (2 Timothy 1:7). This prayer must be importunate to open the hearts of men to God (Psalm 2:8). The soul-winner must be skilful in the use of the Word which is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17; 2 Timothy 2:15). He must also have a definite message, and recognize first that the Gospel is a fact that must be told cheerfully; and an enthrusted fact, that should be told faithfully. The soul-winner must preach the gospel with earnestness, love, simplicity, tact and wisdom (1 Corinthians 9:20-23; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). He must not give in to discouragement.

Opportunities for personal evangelism abound daily on the streets, hospitals, motor parks, bus stops, inside the bus or taxi, prisons, homes of neighbours, schools, markets, etc. The soul-winner does not wait for a perfect opportunity as every situation is an opportunity (Ecclesiastes 11:4,6; 2 Timothy 4:2). An effective way of conducting personal evangelism is through friendship. Friendship evangelism is the art of leading a soul to Christ by cultivating his friendship. Deed of kindness, love, service and friendliness can be the bait that will get a sinner interested in the gospel message. The soul-winner must do things that will demonstrate that he cares for the person’s earthly welfare as well as his eternal soul. Friendship evangelism reflects genuine and true Christlike love in action. Jesus Christ our Lord did not count it ungodly to dine with sinners (Luke 19:5-7). Tracts, cassettes, good books, magazines and even letter writing could be employed for personal evangelism. When do we start personal evangelism? Now (John 4:35). This is because we cannot be guiltless before God if we neglect it (Ezekiel 3:18,19). Millions of souls are rushing towards a lost eternity. Believers must, therefore, throw aside all flimsy excuses as there is no trouble too great, no humiliation too deep, no suffering too severe, no labour too hard, no expense too much in saving souls. We must arise therefore, pray and do the work.

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